Country Reports

Somalia Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) exerts limited authority outside of the capital, Mogadishu, and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's leadership is undermined by personal rivalries, opposition from clans, the semi-autonomous federal member states (FMS), and foreign governments. Disputes between the FGS and FMS stem from candidate selection for the regional elections, the framework for conducting national one-person, one-vote elections in 2020–21, and revenue-sharing. Jihadist militant group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab) will continue to hold large swathes of territory in southern Somalia and, around once a month, conduct vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks and follow-up small-arms assaults in Mogadishu. Targets are government assets and personnel, except in Somaliland, which is more secure.Following the escape of Jubaland security minister Abdirashid Janan from federal government custody in late January 2020, Somali National Army (SNA) and Jubaland troops have mobilised in Gedo region and fought against each other in Baladhawo next to the Kenyan border in February and March 2020. If Janan returns to Kismayo, there will be an increased likelihood of a small-arms battle between SNA and Jubaland troops in the city, particularly at the airport, where Janan would be likely to land. Piracy syndicates based in Mudug region in April 2019 briefly resumed targeting commercial vessels to kidnap crew members and demand ransom payments. IHS Markit sources report they have since reverted to more profitable criminal activities. The hijack of the Sri Lankan-flagged tanker Aris 13 in March 2017 is still the most recent successful hijack of a commercially significant vessel since May 2012. Somalia’s economy is heavily dependent on foreign aid and remittances, as well as excise and duty charges at seaports and airports. However, a global slowdown in economic growth is likely to reduce remittance contributions from the Somali diaspora in 2020, and COVID-19 virus-related cargo disruption will reduce expected tax collection from imports and exports.
Last update: March 27, 2020

Operational Outlook

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has very limited resources or the political willingness to scrutinise the use of budgetary proceeds and award of contracts by ministries, and oversight agencies are likely to face intimidation. Ministries are unlikely to fully enforce regulations on reporting of corruption, particularly within the finance, interior, and security ministries. Anti-corruption efforts are unlikely to improve the operating environment during President Mohamed's term until 2020, especially as he continues to depend on parliamentary support from Hawiye clan patrons present in these ministries. Unions are small, weak, and face intimidation by the government; they are unlikely to successfully oppose wage arrears and poor working conditions.

Last update: December 3, 2019



The Somali National Army (SNA) and regional African Union Mission in Somalia are conducting a joint offensive to secure supply routes in southern Somalia. The SNA is unlikely to retake significant territorial control or obtain full responsibility for security operations during 2020. Al-Shabaab fighters are likely to target pro-Islamic State forces in the northeastern Puntland state. However, the Islamic State's presence is unlikely to be completely eradicated, with its operations being geographically limited and focused on assassination of commercial and government personnel. Bosaso port is likely an aspirational target for both groups. IED attacks in Mogadishu occur monthly, targeting the airport, hotels, police stations, and government buildings.

Last update: December 31, 2019


Foreigners, including aid workers, and journalists are very likely to be targeted by jihadist militants and violent criminals throughout southern Somalia, even when they are escorted by armed guards in the capital, Mogadishu. Jihadists also engage in the extortion of businesses and development projects in the capital and typically assassinate business persons and damage property as a means of enforcement. Aviation operating from Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu has previously been targeted by person-borne IEDs. Somalia has no effective national laws or policing measures to counter organised criminal activity.

Last update: December 3, 2019

War Risks

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is undertaking arbitration at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a maritime boundary dispute with Kenya. If the ICJ rules in Somalia's favour, Kenya is very unlikely to escalate militarily by seizing oil blocks located within the disputed 150,000-square-kilometre area. The next ICJ hearing is on 4–8 June 2020. Following the escape of the Jubaland regional state security minister from federal custody, he and around two hundred of his fighters fought against Somali National Army troops in Gedo region. If the security minister travels to Jubaland's regional capital, Kismayo, there will be an increased risk of small-arms fire to aircraft at Kismayo airport.

Last update: March 6, 2020

Social Stability


Rivalries between 1,000-member militias from the Ogaden and Marehan clans likely will escalate in Jubaland state following the disputed re-election of the regional president in August 2019, should the Federal Government of Somalia reschedule elections or detain regional President Ahmed Mohamed. Although both scenarios are very unlikely, each would trigger protests outside government buildings in Kismayo – including at the airport – likely involving edged weapons and small-arms in fighting with security forces. If the Jubaland security minister returned to regional capital Kismayo after fighting Somali National Army (SNA) troops in Gedo region, there would be an increased likelihood of small-arms fighting between SNA and Jubaland troops at Kismayo airport.

Last update: March 6, 2020

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019


Very high

Roads throughout the country are in poor condition as they are generally neither maintained nor lit at night and traffic lights are rare. As such, driving can be a dangerous activity; it is advisable to avoid all road travel after nightfall. Additionally, landmines and IEDs are an ever present danger.

Illegal roadblocks, highway banditry, and other violent crime can occur at any time in any locality. When traveling by car, doors should be locked and windows rolled-up. 

All road travel should be undertaken with an armed escort, in a convoy, and in an all-terrain vehicle. Always travel with sufficient stocks of water, food, and fuel, as well as the necessary equipment to deal with breakdowns (spare tire, jumper cables, etc.). Always carry an effective means of communication and back-up.

Operations at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) are regularly suspended with little to no warning. Additionally, the airport and aircraft operating out of it are susceptible to attack, as was the case in February 2016, when a bomb was smuggled onto a flight. Security procedures and checks have been enhanced at MGQ; however, the fact that a bomb was able to be carried onto the plane in the first place indicates Al-Shabaab may have agents employed within the facility.

Last update: April 5, 2019


Cuts to water services and power outages are common across the country.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


Somalia has an arid climate which is slightly more temperate along the coast.

There are two rainy seasons, from March to May and again from September to December. The air is very hot and dry between December and February. In the north, temperatures are generally higher than in the rest of the country and the region also receives less rain. The coastal regions are very dry. During the summer months, monsoon winds bring slightly lower temperatures.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +252

There are no emergency services in Somalia.


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019